Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

For  Christmas Eve, we headed out to the Knowles farm for dinner and presents. We started with a large spread of goodies to munch on while waiting for the chili and oyster stew to finish. By the time the soup was on, we were all pretty full from all the grazing.

I didn't take many pictures this year, keeping up with a very excited four year old took up most of my time this year and I didn't want to take my focus off of what was truly important to hide behind my camera all night.

I did make all the grandsons get together for their annual Christmas photo. They sure are trying to look tough but you can tell their pretty excited that we are about to open presents.

At the Knowles household, they sort out all the gifts into piles and then everyone opens them up at once. (Where at my parent's home, we each took a tour opening a present and watching each other.) Ethan sure is excited by his pile of loot!

Check out that determined face while ripping into his first package.

 Ethan's newest move was holding his prized treasures above his head and shouting "Oh Yea"! It made for some pretty funny moments. (and some peaks at his cute, round toddler tummy)

Once we returned home from the farm, Ethan opened up one package under our tree that contained his new Christmas pjs. A plate of cookies and a mug of milk was prepared for Santa and Ethan also put out a carrot for Santa's reindeer. I never left anything for the reindeer, but I'm sure they really appreciated being included.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Breakfast Party

On the 23rd, I hosted a little breakfast party for my childhood friends and their children that were back in town for the holidays. It was so nice to get together for a bite to eat, some coffee to drink and some girl talk while the little ones played. We missed those that weren't able to make it this year but they were included in spirit.

Most importantly, I finally got to meet my good friend Monica's little girl. I posted a couple of months back about hosting her baby shower and now it was time to get to meet baby Tenley in person. Our good friend Samantha's daughter was fascinated by the baby and loved holding her and taking pictures with her. Ethan, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the baby and refused to take any pictures. But aren't these two little girls adorable?

It is so nice to get to spend time with people who have had such an impact on your life for so many years. Even though miles, schedules and years have come between us, it's always so easy to pick up where we last left off. Love you gals...and your little mini me's.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cookies

This year, I really wanted to make snowflake sugar cookies. I wanted the decorations to be more delicate than what I get when I use traditional buttercream to frost the cookies. I decided to take the plunge and try doing royal icing for the first time.

I read a royal icing tutorial that can be found here and got to work decorating after Ethan went to bed. It took me about three hours to do about four dozen cookies from the outling to the final touches - the snowflakes above and the ornaments below. As I went along, my technique improved and I'm sure I could whip these out much quicker next time.

I'm pretty pleased with the results for being my first attempt and have some good ideas for the next time I decide to make decorated sugar cookies. I found the whole process to be a nice, creative outlet and a relaxing activity to do quietely while catching up on the drama of the Real Housewives.

I also received an amazing Christmas present under the tree this year. This beautiful, shiny red KitchenAid mixer. I'm so excited to whip up some goodies in this baby.

Christmas Program Pictures

A few more pictures from the Christmas Program at the Prairie View Reformed Church that I posted about last week.

Walking down the aisle to start the program.

My little angel - front and center.

 Singing the songs of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sparkly Christmas Tree Craft

Earlier this year, my Grandma passed away and we were left with an entire house full of objects, collections and history to sort through.

One of the boxes was full of costume jewelry. The majority of the pieces were broken or missing pieces - such as a single earing. We were all surprised at how many broken pieces of jewelry or partial sets my Grandma held on to. I guess she never gave up hope that she would find the other half of the pair or the missing beads.

My aunts went through the jewelry and chose the items that they wished to keep. After everyone had picked through the jewelry, we were left with a small box of broken pins, earings with out a match, necklaces with the beads unstrung, etc. that were destined for the trash.

I hated to see the pretty baubles and beads tossed so I kept the broken and discarded pieces thinking that I would use them someday in craft projects.

Last week, I thought of a good Christmas project to use them and to keep them as a special keepsake of my Grandma.

I wrapped a foam cone with a wide, satin ribbon and then used straight pins to gently and securely attach the jewelry and beads to the cone tree.

I sorted through all the brightly colored jewelry and selected only those in gold or silver tones with pearl or rhinestone accents to keep the color scheme simple and slighly understated amoung all the sparkle.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Adorable Angel

Ethan was an absolute angel yesterday...literally!

Yesterday evening, our church held its' Children's Christmas Program. Ethan was the youngest in the program, besides his adorable little cousin that played baby Jesus. He did a fantastic job through the entire hour of the program. He stood patiently, sang the songs and happily invited Grandma Knowles up front to help with the bells performance.

I'm not sure there is anything sweeter than hearing the voices of children singing of the coming of baby Jesus.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Keeping up with my theme of posting events about a month after they happen, here are some pictures from Thanksgiving. But see, this time I'm only a couple of weeks late. It's called progress and I'll take it, no matter how small.

Ethan and I made these little turkey cookies. He placed all the tail feathers on himself. It was a great project for his little fingers and kept him busy for some time. Cookies + Small Decorations = Developing fine motor skills

 Family gathered at my parents house for Thanksgiving. My Dad is behind the camera and that's Jim hiding behind my big head.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Halloween 2010 Recap

So it's been almost a month, but I still wanted to share some photos from Halloween. I've been terrible at blogging lately but hope to get remotivated to regular posting with the holiday activities lining up.

Ethan dressed up as a police man for Halloween this year and I found a cute outfit to take him trick-or-treating in. I decided that I was a Fashion Police prisoner for wearing horizontal stripes on a clinging fabric in public. Not very flattering but I think we make a great pair!

Originally, Ethan wanted to be a dinosaur but we couldn't find an appropriate costume. We actually found this police costume at Menards. I never would have guessed to shop for Halloween costumes at a hardware store. All the police gadgets sold Ethan on the costume. He loved having handcuffs and a gun to play with. Plus, Daddy was also a real police man on Halloween so that added another layer of fun.

We only went to a couple of houses for trick-or-treating. Ethan liked seeing his Grandma and a couple of close friends but wasn't interested in going to very many houses. We were lucky to pull up to this little girl's house just as she was heading out. She is a very good friend of Ethans - aren't they adorable?!

After going to about five houses, we returned home and Ethan really enjoyed handing out candy to the kids that came to our home.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roar...Ethan is Four!

My baby turned four this month and we celebrated by having our family over for a dinosaur themed birthday bash. It was a dinoriffic time!

 I decorated the house in green and orange and, of course, dinosaurs.

My friends at Sign Solutions created this awesome banner, which is now hanging in Ethan's bedroom as a permanent decoration.

I made the dinosaur birthday cake and am really proud of how this stegosaurus cake turned out. It was my first attempt at doing a carved 3-D cake and it was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Plus it was really fun to try and figure out what candies that we have at our small town grocery store would work for the dinosaur details. (I'll try and do a post later on dedicated to the details on how I made this cake.)

All smiles as we sing "Happy Birthday"!

Ethan with his cousins, Alex & Hunter, enjoying the birthday cake. Ethan got the dinosaur head for his piece of cake.

The adult table. (For the birthday dinner we served some of Ethan's favorites: Pork tenderloin, twice baked potatoes, broccoli & cheese, gnocchi and crescent rolls.)

Pictures of some of the birthday presents.

Happy Birthday to my sweet, baby boy who constantly reminds me that he is no longer a baby now that he is four. And he's right, he's such a big boy now and amazes me at all the things he can do. Becoming a Mom four years ago was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I'm forever thankful to God for bestowing this great blessing upon me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Words to Live By

It's been one of those days...actually, it's been of those weeks. I saw this image on another blog and it struck a cord.  Too often, fear plays a bigger role in my life course than I would ever want to admit. I over analyze, worry about what other people think and fear the unknown more often than embracing the change.

If you don't like something, change it. It sounds like such a simple concept but how often are we frozen in place by fear of the possibilities and the unknown that we just stay in the exact same place afraid to move forward?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blake Shelton Concert

Jim and I waiting for the Blake Shelton concert to begin.

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a contest on Facebook and won two tickets to the Blake Shelton concert at the Kansas State Fair. The package also included a Visa gift card and some restaurant gift certificates. Unfortunately, we don't have any of the restaurant chains anywhere even remotely close to where we live, so I'll have to remember to use them if I ever make it out to the big city. No matter, though, it's always fun to win free stuff!

We headed down to Hutchison to spend some time walking around the fair grounds before taking in the concert. We checked out the exhibit halls to see all the vendors giving demos and then bought the mandatory fried fair food for dinner - yummy!

Pretty soon, it was time to head to the grand stands.

Here's our view of the stage from our vantage point. Our seats were a little further back than I had envisioned. I can't remember who this opening act was, but he had really good musicians in his band.

This was my view of the jumbo screen - a large pole. This was kind of annoying.

After the opening act, which was an hour, there was a 30 minute break while they set up the stage for Blake Shelton. I was rather disappointed in the time delay. You get pumped up by the opening act and then just sit around waiting for the headliner to start their performance.

Finally it was time for Blake Shelton to take the stage.

We wouldn't have gone to this concert if I hadn't won the tickets, but we had a really good time. Blake Shelton was very funny and his stories and songs were relatable - lots of songs on beer drinking, hard work, hunting and the occasional love song mixed in.

We still had to drive back that night and I had to play the piano for church the next morning, so we actually had to leave the concert early. Such a bummer! Another reason why I was annoyed by how long the opening act was and the long intermission time. I didn't estimate that the concert would last so long. Since the drive back was long, we needed to leave early in order to get home by 2:30 a.m.

After we left the concert, I took this picture in the bathroom mirror. Totally ghetto of me but I wanted to get a picture of what I wore to the concert.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby Shower for Miss Monica

"Sprinkles" Baby Shower

Way back in August, I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower for my close friend, Monica. She and her husband are expecting their first child in about two weeks and I am so thrilled for her little family.

For the shower, we kept the theme pretty simple with just lots of pink and some accents of brown to match the nursery colors that Monica had decorated with. We held the shower on a Sunday afternoon and Monica's Aunt, another one of the hostesses, had the great idea of having a dessert buffet instead of just a large cake. We ended up with two long tables crammed with desserts!

I made some chocolate covered strawberries that had a drizzle of pink tinted white chocolate on top.

Can't have a party without my favorite, cupcakes! I decorated with pink sprinkles to pay tribute to the guest of honor, little Sprinkles.

We held the baby shower over Rodeo weekend, which is our largest community event out here in Phillipsburg. We proudly host Kansas' Biggest Rodeo and knew we'd have a lot of people in town already so it would be a great time to get everyone together for the baby shower. Samantha, another close friend and co-host, found this Rodeo Princess sign - it was just perfect for the event and this special little girl!

Here's a picture of the expectant Mommy, Monica, with myself and Samantha.

Monica - Hopefully these next couple of days will go by smoothly and quickly for you. You, and your family, are in my thoughts and prayers. I can't wait to hear the news of the little girl making her appearance into the world!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of Preschool

Ethan went off to his first day of preschool this morning. Last night, I prayed that God would give my baby boy wisdom, patience, kindness and courage to take this big step. God answered my prayers, as Ethan was beaming with joy to go to preschool today and his teacher gave me a glowing report on his behavior. I'm such a proud Mommy!

After taking the customary "first day of school" photo, we set off walking to the Gingerbread House Preschool. It's located just around the corner from our home, so it makes for a nice little walk for us.

Upon arrival, Ethan was greeted with big hugs from two girls that Ethan use to attend daycare with. I'm not ready for the girls to be swarming around my innocent little boy yet.

Good Friends...and such cuties! I'm so thankful that Ethan has friends that he already knows and can play with on his first day.
Ryann, Hannah & Ethan

In his element - digging in the dirt.

This is how I left him this morning. I was glad to see him having so much fun and ready for me to leave. I somehow managed to not even shed a tear while walking back home. I think knowing he was there with friends, great teachers and fully prepared for this journey, made me excited and filled with joy for my baby big boy.